City 1, United 0–FINAL!!!By: Thad | April 30th, 2012
We’ll be providing minute-by-minute commentary of the all-important Manchester derby in just a few hours: first place in the Premier League is on the line. This could be the night City reclaim the top spot, or it could be the night United virtually seals another title. It’s all to play for and every kick will be documented for posterity’s sake, right here….. Read on!
No need to remind anyone what’s at stake here–top spot after 36 matches in the English Premier League. City need this win to retain realistic hopes of becoming champions of England for the first time since 1968. (No I wasn’t born then so I don’t remember it. But I have met people who do!)
Just over half hour to kickoff!
Here is your lineup for Manchester City (courtesy of www.mcfc.co.uk):
Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Kompany, Zabaleta, Barry, Y Toure, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Tevez
No surprises here other than that Richards is not fit enough apparently to regain his position from Zab.
On the bench, the joker in the pack is of course Mario Balotelli, back from suspension. Would Mancini to bring him on? If Citu need a late goal, I would think so. A safer striking option amongst the subs is Edin Dzeko, along with Richards, keeper Pantilimon, midfielders De Jong and Milner, and free kick expert Kolarov. Plenty of options for Mancini.
And for the Red Devils, it’ll be De Gea in goal, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Park, Scholes, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Rooney.
Off the bench for United: Valencia, Young, Welbeck, Hernandez, Da Silva, Berbatov, Amos. Some quality there.
To recap this season’s prior meetings, United have twice defeated City by 3-2 scorelines, rallying from 2-0 down in the Community Shield after Kompany’s late slip to gift an injury time winner at Wembley, then again at Eastlands in January in the FA Cup Third round after Kompany had an early, controversial red card. Superb fight back that day by 10-man City from 3-0 down fell just short. In the league of course City ran rampant over United for that stunnning 6-1 victory at Old Trafford in the fall.
Not much of a surprise that United have gone for experience for this one with Ryan Giggs, 47, and Paul Scholes, 52, each getting the nod.
Andre Marriner is the ref tonight. Let’s hope this match plays out without too much controversy for him to sort out.
Keys to the game? Emotions are sure to be sky high with the crowd egging City forward as soon as possible, but the hosts need to be mindful of United on the break and avoid getting sucker punched for a counter-attacking goal. It looks likes United will be 4-5-1 and may concede a fair amount of possession, with little worry about getting beat in the air by Tevez or Aguero. That means City’s passing and runs off the ball must be at their slickest, most incisive best.
Generally I would think the longer United can frustrate City the more it helps them–a goal fest is probably more to City’s liking. But there’s really no prediction how this will go…stay tuned…kick off in ten minutes!
Once we kick off we’ll be posting updates every 5 minutes…follow along, or watch the match yourself and come back here for the kick by kick recap that will include all the little incidents and emotions you may have forgotten about….
…Looks like a beautiful spring evening in Manchester, this game will start in broad daylight before finishing under the stadium lights.
1st min. Okay, the players are on the field, some City fans doing what they hope is a warm-up Poznan cheer, Tevez pulls Rooney’s air, the fading sun creeps through the stadium. City in light blue of course, United in red, and City will kick this off. City start by playing it back to Hart who boots it down field. United hoof it forward and win possession and play down the left, Evra with a cross that is deflected behind for an early corner. Dangerous ball in and a bit of a goal mouth scramble but City do get it away…
2nd min. Now City have a goal kick as Nani loses it. United played it short, after the cross it fell to Carrick whose shot hit Kompany’s arms in front of his chest–never a penalty that.
3rd min. Hart comes to collect and City try to play it out of the back. Clichy’s pass is blocked but Ciy do get it back on the left. Now the hosts string a few passes together to calm the nerves a bit.
4th min. Throw in on the right. Zab loses it though and United come, they look well up for this. There’s a floated cross in from the right that gives Hart an easy catch, but his punt is over the touchline on the left. City’s midfield need to get control of things.
5th min. There’s the “Mancini” song–did you know he came from Italy to manage Man City? City now have it up to Silva, Clichy with a decent cross but Tevez is too short, and now Lescott must cut out Nani on the counter attack there, important intervention. Tevez comes back to his own half to win the ball…
6th min. Silva cuts in and shoots but it’s blocked by Smalling, Silva again puts it out to Clichy, his shot/cross is deflected and it’s a corner kick….Silva to take from the right, left-footed, good ball in but United clear it. Lescott had it back but his ball for Silva runs out of bounds.
7th min. City now with a throw from the right after United’s attempt to break is dealt with. Toure is trying to make himself available at all times for the easy ball. Aguero with a touch but he can’t find a way through, Rooney now with it down the right…
8th min. Worked around to Giggs on the left, over to Carrick and Scholes, now Evra , another cross, another block by Zab, another corner kick…
8th min. Nani to take this one in-swinging from the left side. Kompany clears but United have it again, Rooney with a cross, SMalling with a header but Kompany blocks that with ease.
9th min. United still applying pressure that is finally relieved is Nasri comes over to clear it off a United play.
10th min. Zab with a throw, Tevez goes down but no foul, Nani tries to shoot from 30 yards but it balloons well over the bar.
11th min. City now with a throw on the left half way, Clichy looks and looks and fins Aguero, another throw 10 yards farther up, City play it over to Zab. Barry recovers the ball and there’s a foul on Scholes given 45 yards from goal or so. Toure stands over the ball, plays it short, and City try to keep the ball a bit.
12th min. Toure almost loses it there but Lescott beats Rooney to the ball, Zab now with a ball to Tevez, it comes back to Barry but his pass to Tevez is cut out and Barry is called for a little push on Evra.
13th min. Rio to take this one and he’s taking all day with it before finally moving the ball back a few yards. He ends up playing it back to De Gea. Zab now fouls Rooney inside City’s half.
14th min. Free kick then and United are content to put it on the floor and pass–but not for long as Rio aims a rather pointless long ball forward that it ends up as a goal kick. Hart takes from the middle of his goal area, throw in on the left after that header, Clichy to take…
15th min. HE throws it up to Aguero but he can’t do anything with it and it’s a throw the other way. Jones takes it but Toure does well to beat Park to that ball and City have it again. Nothing is coming easy though, City will have to play really well to win this one feels….
16th min. Nasri cuts in, sets up Tevez on the touchline, he cuts it back but Jones clears it–best move of the game by either side, Nasri went through three players on that dribble. Lescott now fakes out Rooney on the back pass, before deciding to back pass anyway to Hart.
17th min. Rio has it now as United play it out of the back. Lescott clears that ball forward but United recover and start again.
18th min. As David Platt predicted pregame, it’s a bit cagey so far but the onus is clearly on City to put the ball in the net. United will be happy with a 0-0. Zab’s ball in is dealt with, but City are establishing the lion’s share of possession after the early jitters.
19th min. Nasri to Silva and back again, Silva to Toure whose ball is cut out. Nani has it, sweeping ball to Giggs on the left, his cross is cleared crucially by Toure…
20th min…and a yellow card has been given for Kompany for what looked like a routine honest challenge on Rooney. Very very soft that one. Rooney did go down but the replay didn’t show anything wrong with the chalenge.
21st min. That may affect Kompany’s ability to play his normal game, we’ll see, but if that’s a yellow this game will be 5 a side by the time this over. Maradona in the crowd to see his son-in-law Sergio!
22nd min. Zab to Barry to Nasri to Silva to Toure to Tevez to Clichy, Teves, Nasri, Tevez, Clichy, nice ball to Nasri, he crosses but there’s no one there, Zab now with a cross that is nodded behind for a corner kick.
23rd min. This corner is from the left, Nasri takes, and the initial ball is deflected high in the air by Evra before going behind off Kompany for a goal kick.
24th min. Barry is fouled near midway and City restart play, good pressure by United means nothing is available for very long or very far. But City have increasingly adjusted to the tempo, Clichy now with a terrific run, sets up Aguero, he tried to sneak through a couple of defenders in the box to shoot but must settle for a corner. Nasri takes…
25th min…it short to Silva, after his cross is only half cleared by Rooney, it’s nodded by Lescott over to Aguero whose shot is miles off target. Difficult chance that but a good one.
26th min. Goal kick now for United as the sun steadily sets. Still no sign of whose game this will be in Manchester. Throw in now for United down the right.
27th min. Good hustle by Park there to try to win a corner off Lescott down in the corner but it doesn’t work, goal kick for HArt.
28th min. He tries the right side this time, Zab with a good flick to Nasri but City lose it. United try to pass it out of the back. Clichy with a hoof forward but United claim it at midfield, Scholes now cuts in and United try to set up shop.
29th min. Good work by Barry wins it back and City come down the right, Nasri with a good move to free himself for a cross but United deal with it easily. Toure now wins it off Jones, AGuero on the edge fo the box, Toure skews his shot, but it falls kindly to Nasri…
30th min. Silva nw dances through, over to Nasri for a short cross from the right edge of the box as City keep up the pressure, but United are coping so far with every cross, including two in the last minute by Nasri.
31st min. Rooney and Lescott exchange pleasantries (really), United win a throw down the right side.
32nd min. Carrick to take, to Park, who loses it over the endline for a City goal kick. Crowd are hanging on every kick and so is this blogger. Silva collects the long goal kick and City establish possession.
33rd min. Barry now takes the space, finds Nasri but his chest trap is intercepted by United as the ball lands. City have it back soon enough before Tevez is called for a little trip on Carrick.
34th min. Lescott hoofs it forward, United clear it all the way behind for a goal kick. Game is starting to get more chippy over challenges, United apparently complaining about a Tevez challenge that got all ball.
35th min. Barry to Hart, his clearance at a low trajectory is headed straight back to him. Jones now fouls Clichy, the crowd calls for a card because Clichy went flying but the players get on with in on the ground. Nasri down the right, brilliant one-two with Barry, the cross falls to Aguero but his shot goes wide–looks like that was probably a corner but none given.
36th min. Zabaleta with a chance but he and Aguero inadvertanyl get in each other’s way at the penalty spot! No fault for either players there, Zab was trying to stay with it unaware Aguero had gotten into a good position.
37th min. Each time have a counter cut out and City have it again.
38th min. Barry to Silva, but United get it and pass it back to the keeper. Toure wins it through the center circle, finds Nasri on the right, tevez, Toure, Zab on the right, Toure, Barry, Nasri, Barry, Zab, Toure,Zab, good cross , Jones heads it out to Clichy whose hard second cross is caught by De Gea.
39th min. Patient possession there by City. Kompany now pressured into a back pass to Hart whose kicking is a little off today, that one is over the touchline.
40th min. Rooney with a cross field ball to Nani, he cuts in to Rooney, Jones with a cross but Zab clears it, Tevez, now throught he middle, to Toure, Aguero, he dribble and cuts but can only get a blocked shot off–corner kick. That was a real opening created by Tevez winning that ball.
41st min. Nasri puts it in the mixer and United deal with it. Kompany involved with Scholes on the scramble, United break and after a dangerous ball from Rooney is half-cleared win a corner through Giggs down the left.
42nd min. Nani plays a short one into the box that Park blast off the ground, scooping it well over with his left foot.
43rd min. Clichy up the left side now, he and Silva stay out of each other’s way just, Nasri down the right, Clichy wih the throw. Toure and Clichy, Kompany, Nasri, Aguero goes down but now foul is given, United have it away.
44th min. But not for long as Park slips. Can City get something before halftime? Zab probes, lays it out to Nasri who comes to the edge of the box. Toure now with it as City work right to left, Tevez with a little ball into the box blocked out for a throw, but City keep it. Zab goes one-two with Nasri, has to work to get it back, Clichy how on the left after that cross field ball from Silva…
4th min…and City continue to patiently probe. Nasri, Zab, the cross in skews off Evra for a corner kick down the right. Silva to take.
46th min. United head it out but Silva gets it back, Nasri crosses from the byline, corner kick again. Silva to Kompany who scores!!!!! GOAL!!!!!! 1-0 City!
47th min. Kompany rose above everyone, Silva put it in the perfect spot, and the skipper made no mistake in burying it with his big noggin. Hart has to venture out of his box to clear that one as the half plays itself out. Halftime!
At halftime, City’s possession and dominance have paid off–it’s 1-0 Manchester City and the stadium is rocking! Kompany looks determined leaving the pitch. This sets up a potentially great second half as United will have to come out of their shell.
On the goal, Smalling was the closest one to Kompany but I think it may have been Rio’s fault on the marking there–in any case two United players went with Lescott and space was left for Kompany to bury it.
Before we get too excited, remember United have tons of game-winning talent on the bench–Valencia, Young, Welbeck, Berbatov. Not sure Dmitar figures in today but two or three of the others I expect to come on at some point. As to City one would think there’d be no changes, just instructions to keep up concentration while continuing to push for a second. Zabaleta has been immense today and as long as it stays like this he won’t be coming off.
Okay–second half is upon us!
46th min. Giggs and Scholes have a chat as United prepare to kick this off, the night having gently fallen over the Eastlands. Kompany with an early header and Aguero comes forward. Barry pops it into Aguero but he loses it, Rooney with a ball for Nani that is errant, City throw on the left.
47th min. Clichy’s long throw is dealt with and after some back and forth United have a throw at half way. Jones to Nani who nicely turns, City work it over to Evra who heads for the corner. Scholes, Jones switching field,s Nani, Jones, Smalling, Scholes, Carrick, Evra, Giggs, Zab intervenes and it’s a United throw.
48th min. Kompany clears it away Scholes just beats Barry to that pass and Nani has a chance to cross–off of Lescott for a corner kick on the right. Giggs prepares to take..
49th min. Hart went for it and just barely got a paw to it, it goes across the other side. Replay shows that was an important touch, Rooney might have had it, second ball is deflected by Clichy, then Zab boots it out. United get it back.
50th min. Nani attacks down the left, he fires it at Hart and surprisingly England’s #1 fumbles it, it’ll be a corner kick. Barry with a clearance after United tried their short corner routine. The visitors are trying to get back into this straight away. But here’s Tevez with it, Aguero, Zab, and it’s a City corner on the right.
51st min. Double our luck off the corner? Oh it was a good ball ther and Lescott appeared to have a chance at that but he can’t reach it as the ball flies by.
51st min. Double our luck off the corner? Oh it was a good ball ther and Lescott appeared to have a chance at that but he can’t reach it as the ball flies by.
52nd min. Nasri up the left side, Clichy, Narsi, Barry, Clichy, all on the left as yo might guess, Barry, Lescott, Tevez, Silva, Tevez, Zab, cross ricochets off Evra and City keep it Silva and Tevez miss the connection there.
53rd min. And now Toure with a silly yellow card he can’t believe he was called for a foul on Giggs after appearing to put his elbow out, and he slammed the ball on the groun in dissent. City need to keep the emotions in check here.
54th min. Zab to Tevez to Barry whose ball forward runs all the way through for a goal kick. Kompany steps forward with that clearance into the crowd.
55th min. City are dealing with things well enough but perhaps will want to press for a second before Alex Ferguson goes to that deep bench–Welbeck, a terrific finisher, is warming up.
56th min. City keep the ball for a spell, Hart with a clearance and there’s a foul by Smalling on Tevez just inside United’s half. Toure restarts to Tevez, Aguero has it at his feet briefly but it’s cleared for a throw. United now with decent play to get it out but City also do a good job and Lescott eventually has it back to Hart to clear.
57th min. Scholes, Carick now have it but Aguero steps in to take it away, Zab gets forward and wins yet another corner on the right. Great night for Pablo so far.
58th min. Silva goes near post on the corner, it’s partially cleared to Barry, who feeds Nasri for an improbable left footed shot that is well wide. There’s the sub–Park off, Welbeck on.
59th min. Kompany with an important clearance, Tevez tries to find Aguero, a heavy bouncing back pass to the United keeper and the visitors manage to hack it away. United get the throw too. Welbeck already causing problems but Clichy has the throw for City on the left. Now Nani fouls Barry and City will calm things down a bit.
60th min. Clichy to Aguero to Nasri to Tevez, to toure, to Clichy to Tevez to Toure cross field to Zab, Silva, Clichy, Tevez, Clichy, cross doesn’t reach anyone but after City recover Evra fouls Zab, maybe 30 yards from goal out on the right.
61st min. Silva stands over this, United with a header but Toure has it, now Kompany , Tevez, Toure, dangerous ball down the by line but De Gea has a kick save.
62nd min. Silva does well to win it back at midefiled, Aguero on the right, through the box, he tried a cute ball to Tevez but it didn’t work out.
63rd min. United now have it, here’s Jones down the right side, over to Evra, Tevez, Scholes, whistles and boos around the stadium as United keep it, but Lescott wins it back briefly. Here’s Nani…
64th min… decent cross from the right by Jones cut out by Lescott’s boot. Corner kick! Giggs to take on the right, Hart with a punch, then Barry with an authoritative header to clear it.
65th min. Nani to Rooney, he played the return ball but Kompany read it and stepped in to clear it. More United possession at the moment. Nani to Jones all kinds of time he had to cross but he played a terrible ball all the way to the other touchline. Let off for City.
66th min. De Jong is getting ready for City, Tevez is battling away but he may be about to come off.
67th min. Through ball towards Welbeck, Hart collects. He takes his sweet time and then punts one well forward, Aguero can’t quite get hold of it though and United will play from the back. Barry gets it back but must leave it to Kompany for a boot into the stands. No goals tonight for Carlos Tevez who has such a history in this fixture for both sides…
68th min…He’s off and DeJong is on. Toure presumably will play higher up the pitch in support of Aguero.
69th min. Giggs dances around, nice cross in the box, Clichy plays it off the chest to Hart. Well done!
Toure wins it up the right, into the box but it’s taken off of him. Jones now goes into the book for hacking down Barry after losing out. Barry is down on the ground.
70th min. A minute’s break here as Barry is treated.
71st min. De Jong restarts play on the ground to Silva., the ball is cleared by United to Hart who clears it back, and it ends up a United throw.
72nd min. City really need a second goal, one feels. Clichy hoofs one forward but United collect it again. Evra with a good ball, Roonye flicks it on, Lescott intervened. City now breaking it through Toure, he tries to blast one from 25 yards or so after a long dribble, well hit but always going wide.
73rd min. Zab leaps over Giggs but misses the ball on the goal kick, nothing given, it’ll be a throw to United on the left.
74th min. United work it around left to right but there’s a foul given against United and Hart will take this free kick. A long boot towards Toure, United get it away and Kompany plays it back to Hart for another boot.
75th min. Toure does really well to win the ball but there’s a foul by Scholes. City start it up down the left side after a test exchange of opinions between Yaya and Scholes.
76th min. City keep possession well, Nasri tou Toure, Aguero turns and shoots in the box but it’s blocked. De Jong takes out Welbeck on the other end and yes, that’s a yellow card. A little harsh and now Alex Ferguson and Mancini are having words on the touchline!
77th min. Mancini is upset that Alex was asking for a card.
78th min. Replay shows that was a foul on De Jong but Welbeck definitely went for the theatrics. Meanwhile Aguero gets it in the box, cuts in and shoots at a tight angle–side netting only. United now replace the Ginger Boy with Valencia. Scholes out, Valencia in. Carrick now is booked for that challenge on Barry near halfway.
79th min. Wow this is a tense and stormy environment, emotions could easily spill over. Let’s see if City have the self-control to see this through. Barry is treated again and City will have to play with 10 for a moment or two.
80th min. Barry pops back on in time to win that clearance, Aguero loses it and fouls Jones, here come United. Evera tries to beat Zab down the left, Zab however gets it out for a throw in the corner not once but twice. Rooney now called fo a high kick on De Jong’s head.
81st min. Barry to Silva to Clichy to Aguero as City keep it. Toure with a poor pass there into space, goal kick United.
82nd min. Zab with another header, here comes Toure, he turns the ball this way and that ands up shooting left foorted from the edge of the area, it’s just a yard wide. He opted to call his own number there rather than try to find Aguero.
83rd min. Silva off, Micah Richards on for City. Ashley Young on for Nani. City are trying to lock this one down. Goal kick is controlled by Valencia, Giggs now with it, and United push it around the horn. Zab in the thick of it but is called for a little foul on Young.
84th min. Young stands over it 35 yards out, Barry with the clearing header, Lescott gets it away, might have been a push on him there but nothing givnen, and City are able to get it all the way in the corner where Toure talks to a smiilng Mario Balotelli for a moment.
85th min. Lescott with an interception, City have it in the box, Nasri keeps it from Rio for ages and it ends up a City throw. Nasri will take the throw.
86th min. United try to get it out of the back but can’t and City have a throw in an attacking area on the left. Aguero tries to squirm through two defenders and wins a foul from Jones. Free kick just a few yards outside the box on the left.
87th min. Nasri puts it in the box, cleared, but Barry does well to cut out the clearance. United again cough it up over the side.
88th min. Zab to throw it from the right. Toure pushes it forward, Nasri, Zab, clichy with a shot, saved by De Gea, he tries to play in Aguero, cleared, into Aguero again but he’s offside. Nice save by De Gea on that shot after Zab’s cross ran all the way through to the attacking left back.
89th min. Jones now to Valencia back to Jones, good ball to Welbeck, he’s forced out of the box by good City pressure, Zab clears and City break, Toure with a great recovery of that ball, into the box to Nasri, and he can’t get the shot off 10 yards from the box!
90th min. That was a real chance for City. 5 minutes of injury time ahead. Richards fouls Giggs, taken quickly, Young fights off Zab, United still have it, Jones tries to find Welbeck but it runs out for a goal kick.
91st min. Replay shows Nasri should have done better–he just need to toe poke instead of taking an extra touch.
92nd in. Aguero wins it and City keep it. Toure dribbles through a couple of players and is brought down for a foul. Clichy stands over it. Lots of singing in the stadium as you’d imagine.
93rd min. Nasri tries to play it in but United get it, now Clichy slides in to clear it. Halfway through injury time now. Milner now comes in for Nasri as City use the last sub.
94th min. United get it forward, De Jong wins it, Richards tried to burst out of the back but isn’t allowed to, and City end up hoofing it into the crowd. Evra with the throw, Carrick, now Giggs, Evra, off Zab, corner kick!
95th min. Final minute. City must clear this corner. Young to take, near post and Clichy clears it, he thinks it should be a City throw but United have it, Rooney is clear and shoots but it’s blocked, the ball comes back in high and Hart is fouled as he tries to catch that. Smalling undercut him there. Hart needs a bit of attention.
96th min. Really that shouuld be the game, as soon as Hart is well enough to kick the ball back into play. Kompany will take it–and there it is final whistle!!! 1-0 CITY!!!!!!!!
That’s your final score!!!!! Manchester City are top! Blue Moon has Risen!
The entire crowd stay to sing!
5 minutes on and no one has gone home! They’ve all stayed to sing a couple of verses of “Hey Jude.” (A tribute to Everton’s contribution to City’s recovery in the title race?) Now it’s Oasis, postmatch interview with Gareth Barry. “Massive,” he says. Yes, you could say that!!! And with that we’ll be signing off….
Man of the Match: Zabaleta.